One of the region's best-kept educational secrets are the KIPP charter schools in San Lorenzo.
KIPP stands for the Knowledge Is Power Program. The local charters -- one a middle school and the other a high school -- are affiliated with a national foundation that supports 125 schools in 20 states. KIPP's goal is to make overachievers out of students from low-income backgrounds.
In 2003, a KIPP middle school opened in a surplus building in the San Lorenzo Unified School District.
In 2007 KIPP began accepting high school students on the same site, under a long term agreement with public school trustees in San Lorenzo.
Last year KIPP educated 400 middle schoolers (grades 5-8) and 475 high schoolers, many taking classes in temporary buildings.
Now, thanks to $8.2 million from the state grants and loans, a $1.7 million investment from San Lorenzo Unified and $1.2 million in additional privately-raised funding, KIPP has expanded.
Monday it will formally dedicate 33,000 square feet of educational space including art and science classrooms, a library and computer lab, a gymnasium and new offices.
Students and teachers are already using the new facilities but at ceremonies this afternoon KIPP will invite parents and community members to view the facilities at 2005 Via Barrett in San Lorenzo.
Of KIPP's 875 students in San Lorenzo, 47 percent are Latino; 31 percent are Asian; 14 percent are African American; 8 percent are from another background; and 70 percent come from low-income households.
The two KIPP schools in San Lorenzo shine in state standardized test scores, as Patch has reported in the past.
KIPP officials say that, measured over all 41,000 students in the program nationwide, their instructional process produces college graduates at four times the rate that is typical of low-income students.